You might have heard friends, money advice websites and even your energy supplier talking or sending you information about dual fuel tariffs and energy plans. But, what is ‘dual fuel’, should you switch to a dual fuel tariff, are they cheaper and is it easy to switch to them? In this article I will be aiming to answer these frequently asked questions about dual fuel energy tariffs.
What is a dual fuel tariff?
A dual fuel energy plan or tariff is one where your electricity and gas are bundled together in a package from a single supplier and in the same contract. Most of us get our gas and electricity from two different suppliers but getting on a dual fuel tariff and combining them into a single contract can help you save money on your energy bills. This along with the time saved in having only one energy supply company to deal with when you have queries, complaints or problems are the main benefits for consumers.
At the same time dual fuel contracts are good for the supplier as they increase customers and get more income from persuading you to take both your gas and electricity from them.
Why should I choose a dual fuel tariff?
Switching to a dual fuel tariff has several advantages. The first is that, as mentioned, getting all your energy from a single supplier makes the process of paying for your energy, managing bills and contracts and contacting supplies much, much easier. This goes for you and your energy supplier as they will often combine both services into a single monthly direct debit and bill.
A lot of energy supplies also offer incentives and discounts for customers who switch to dual fuel plans. The incentive for the energy company is that, as a supplier, it is much more secure in you remaining a customer over the long term when taking all your energy needs from them. Put simply, it’s a win-win equation.
Is dual fuel the cheapest tariff for me?
This is a tricky question and frankly it is best answered by running an energy price comparison. There are quite a few tools online such as USwitch which will help to check prices and availability of tariffs in your area.
I recommend using an energy comparison service (these are offered by energy companies but a neutral one is best) as,depending upon your energy needs, usage and location, you could find that buying your gas and electricity from two different suppliers could work out cheaper for you. There are single services tariffs which are priced a little cheaper than dual fuel combined bills.
One thing to take into account is that a lot of energy companies will give customers a discount for switching to/ joining on a dual fuel tariff. This is often called a ‘dual fuel discount’. These might not be advertised or available through a comparison site so unfortunately it may mean a bit of leg work contacting suppliers to find out available discounts.
Does dual fuel offer any other benefits?
They can make life a little simpler. There is one monthly or quarterly statement or bill to check and one direct debit to look out for each billing cycle. It all means a little less admin.
If, or rather when things go wrong and you need to contact your gas and electricity suppliers you only have one phone call to make. It also makes life easier if you switch bank accounts, move home or move to another supplier, you’re only changing one account.
How easy is it to switch to dual fuel?
The short answer is that it is relatively easy to switch to a dual fuel tariff energy plan. Whilst it isn’t too difficult if you are switching gas and electricity from two different companies to a third provider it becomes even easier if you are just moving one fuel (gas or electricity) to the others provider.
Once you have thoroughly gone through a price comparison service, using your most recent electricity and gas bills you should be pointed to the best dual fuel (or not) plan for you. Switching should be an easy process and shouldn’t require a lot of paperwork. Most of the admin should be taken care of by your old and new energy suppliers. You will be informed of the change over of supply date and when any new direct debits begin. Once you have switched to the new provider check with your bank that any old direct debits are cancelled and the new one is setup correctly. All you should really notice is a cheaper energy bill coming your way!
To find out more about dual fuel tariffs, the switching process and other ways to cut your energy costs check out this great guide by OVO Energy on dual fuel.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!